The Panthers went 5-1 in the divison and had a top 10 defense despite injuries to linebacker, and all of our defensive backs at one time or another... The team also had two new starters at defensive tackle and 3 new starters at linebacker. That's 5 players in the front 7 and a mess of injuries. We still didn't fall out of the top ten for defense.
The offenses biggest problem was run blocking, Mike Wahle struggled with illness and injury and we lost both our starting centre and left tackle for the year in the first game of the season. Three key cogs to a very good line missing.
To cap things off Jake Delhomme missed some winnable games against Pittsburgh, and New York that Weinke stunk up leading to big losses. Because of his crappy play we missed the playoffs.
Panthers were 31st in starters missing games last year.
The team's healthy and is returning its true starters to the lineup with the exception of one very poor safety. We've got enough in cap space to fill that hole and enough draft picks to take our depth and get some luxury picks under our belt. We've got a very good new offensive coordinator and a coach who historically has hit the playoffs every year after a down year.
You think we'll have an 8-8 season you're in for a rude shock... 7th Ranked defense will get back an offense a year removed from 3 probowlers and a very good running back and receiving tandem.
Buccs - 6-10